A recent report by research firm Wireless Intelligence has found that half of all mobile connections worldwide would run on 3G or 4G networks by 2017.
This would represent a doubling of today’s figure (1.7 billion) and would represent around 4.25 billion out of the 8.5 billion connections anticipated in 2017.
This is particularly evident in more mature regions such as Western Europe where the 2G compared to 3G/4G split is already nearly equal.
The report also predicts that 2G connections will decline fairly rapidly over the next few years and predicts that HSPA will continue to be the dominant technology. This is not entirely surprising given that many operators are turning off their 2G networks during this period in order to use the spectrum for more advances services.
Much of the remaining 2G activity is in China and India, the world’s two largest mobile markets, but these are also expected to migrate eventually.
Interestingly, a study by the GSMA and Deloitte attempted to determine the economic impact of increased mobile network speeds. They found that a 10 per cent shift from 2G to 3G increased GDP per capita growth by 0.15 percentage points, while doubling mobile data use leads to 0.5 percentage points of increased GDP growth rate.
Finally the research predicts that FDD-LTE technology would account for 85% of all 4G connections by 2017 while TD-LTE would only account for 14% (compared to research firm Ovum predicting 25% by 2016).
For more, read the Wireless Intelligence release.